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San Diego Personal Injury Law Blog

Motorcycle accidents involving high speed may be deadly

A vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed is a hazard because the driver is likely not considering the risks of his or her actions and may be unable to stop in time to avoid a collision. Motorcycle accidents involving speeding cars can be deadly to the motorcyclist, who has little protection against the impact of another vehicle. One family in California is mourning the loss of a loved one who died when a speeding car struck his motorcycle.

Just before midnight one recent night, a 60-year-old man was riding his motorcycle when he was struck by a Tesla speeding through an intersection. The operator of the motorcycle was thrown from his bike and pronounced dead by paramedics. Meanwhile, the driver of the car abandoned the vehicle and fled the scene of the accident.

Victims of car accidents may collect even if hit at workplace

A wrongdoer may cause a vehicular accident but at the same time get seriously injured himself. The serious injury or death of the wrongdoer will not stop the victims from their right to recover for personal injury damages. With respect to car accidents in California, the victims may make a claim for compensation for their injuries against the tortfeasor even if he is arrested due to criminal recklessness in the accident.

In fact, if the tortfeasor dies in the accident, the injured victims may make their claims to the decedent's estate. Recently in the state, a motorist traveling west on Avenue K at 20th Street East left the roadway and struck and seriously injured a Southern California Edison worker. The victim was repairing a power box when he got hit, according to Los Angeles County Detectives.

Man died, $10 million awarded in medical malpractice case

The incorrect administration of drugs is known to be one of the biggest areas of medical negligence in California and elsewhere. The issues that arise in such cases bring up the same questions of negligence and causation as in other medical malpractice cases. Whether any particular claim is a valid one will generally be determined after the plaintiff gets a review of the medical records and all other surrounding circumstances.

In a somewhat complicated case of drug causation, a jury awarded a family $10 million recently after concluding that the drug that the doctor gave to his patient caused the man's colon to self-destruct, resulting in his death. He went to the hospital in 2013 complaining of kidney problems. The doctor prescribed Kayexalate, a drug that is used to cut down the concentration of potassium in the body.

Forced-acceleration car accidents often involve elderly drivers

Elderly drivers tend to get involved in freak accidents where loss of control over the gas pedal is a factor. This often manifests through a car that is speeding out of control due to an accelerator pedal being stuck. Such car accidents are not that rare in California and other states. Although there is a variety of causes for cars racing out of control, against the will of the driver, the event does seem to occur more often when an elderly person is behind the wheel.

For example, on Sept. 3 an elderly driver rampaged his car through the parking lot of the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre while striking a fence, several pedestrians and a parked, unoccupied police vehicle. The impact sent the police car onto a lawn where it struck a group of people who were picnicking. Four of those picnickers were seriously injured by the patrol car. They were rushed to a hospital where they reportedly remained the next morning.

Hospitals hide from bereaved families 1,000s of superbug deaths

Another tragic problem has been uncovered in the health care industry. It involves a pattern of patient deaths due to a drug-resistant bacterial infection that is passed on to the patients, who are often infants, while they are receiving treatment in hospitals, including some here in Southern California. The situation has reached critical mass in some places. In one hospital, according to a Reuters research team, a whole neonatal ward of about a dozen babies died before the infection had subsided.   

The problem goes deeper. The hospitals and doctors have been executing death certificates that do not mention the drug-resistant bacterial infection. Instead, most of them list a sepsis infection associated with whatever condition was being treated. In the case of the babies the incredible reason listed on the birth certificates was being born "premature." According to the Reuters report, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that about 23,000 people die each year from some 17 types of antibiotic-resistant diseases.

Car accidents entangle L.A. Angels star in a scary collision

When a star athlete on a California team is involved in an accident or other newsworthy event, the news reports may seem to try and sway public opinion either for or against the star. On Sept. 2, a star slugger on the Los Angeles Angels team was involved in an accident on the 55 freeway at about 9 p.m. He was reportedly on his way home after a game and dinner with other players when he ran into backed-up traffic from one or more car accidents ahead.

The baseball slugger was Mike Trout, a popular player with the Angels. When he approached the backed-up traffic, he did not stop in time to prevent colliding into another vehicle. The collision sent a 27-year old woman to a hospital with "major" injuries, according to the California Highway Patrol. If anyone benefited from the reporting on the accident, it would appear to be Trout, who did not get grilled on why he could not stop in time to prevent the serious collision.

Medical malpractice settlement of $4.25 million is made public

The general practice in medical malpractice settlements in California and other states is for the court to allow the amount of the settlement to be sealed and kept from public view. Defense counsel inevitably obtains the consent of the other parties to that protection for their clients. However, from the perspective of the plaintiff's medical malpractice bar, the practice keeps vital information about medical providers from public scrutiny.

Rarely will a court reject a defendant's request to keep the settlement amount sealed. However, one judge in another state did just that recently in a $4.25 million settlement of a death claim involving a mother's loss of twins who were stillborn. The state court judge ruled that the public's right to know outweighed defense concerns for privacy.

3 toddlers die in fatal accident; parents get a gift of love

California can lay claim to one of the more unique accident stories in recent times. It started off with a horrendous tragedy that unfortunately occurs daily in this state and nationwide. A mother was in her minivan sitting in backed-up traffic on an Orange County highway when a heavily weighed down industrial rig barreled into them going 55 mph. Her three children, two girls and a boy, ages 2, 4 and 5, died as a result of the fatal accident.

The driver of the rig was sentenced to a year in jail. Although not clearly reported, it is likely that the parents settled with the trucking company for a very large amount reflecting the wrongful death value of three young lives. The prospect of a large settlement likely reflects the need for trucking companies to carry excess insurance to cover this very kind of catastrophe.

Lawsuit: Failure to diagnose sepsis causes 3 amputations

The failure to properly determine a patient's medical condition is very often the leading reason behind a medical malpractice claim in California and other states. Such claims may be characterized as a failure to diagnose or as a misdiagnosis. When medical care is provided that misses the mark and is not relevant to the patient's actual condition, or when care is totally omitted due to the failure to diagnose, the table may be set for a claim of medical malpractice.

When there is a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose, this may cause a severe medical setback to the patient. It may create a situation where a serious infection, for example, is allowed to run rampant in the patient's body without any treatment for it. One case that was recently filed illustrates the point.

Crosswalk accident fatality leads to $9.5 million jury verdict

A municipality or state agency can be responsible for paying damages to victims who died or were seriously injured due to road conditions that the government unit should have corrected or repaired. That was essentially what happened in a recent jury verdict that awarded the family of a deceased 62-year-old man $9.5 million in damages against the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in connection with a fatal crosswalk accident. The award came after a two-week jury trial brought by the family in San Mateo County Superior Court.

The man was walking his bike in a crosswalk in Atherton in Sept. 2010 when a vehicle driven by a Stanford man crashed into him. The jury found the driver only 10 percent liable for causing the accident and put the remainder of the blame on Caltrans. The agency promised to install pedestrian-activated stop lights at the intersection in 2012 after two women were seriously injured in the same crosswalk.